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Asylum: Majd's Perilous Journey
Beirut
By Transterra Editor
19 Jun 2015

When we talk about the problems that face the world, we often discuss them in magnitude and numbers. We speak of millions displaced, hundreds of thousands dead, and many wounded.

However, what is often lost below the melee of statistics and news headlines are the stories of the individuals who endure these tragedies. Their personal experiences are what humanize all of the numbers and talking heads.

22-year-old Majd Bayoush was driven out of his hometown of Kafranbel, Syria by war. Desperate to start a new life abroad, he was smuggled to Europe via a long and dangerous underground railway.

He first travelled overland to Turkey, and then took a dangerously overloaded inflatable boat from Turkey to the Greek island of Samos. Once in Greece, he was registered with the Greek authorities and held in a migrant detention center.

After his release from the migrant detention center he began a perilous and exhausting overland journey from Greece to Germany. He trudged on foot over mountains and through forests in the bitter European cold.

Despite his tribulations, Majd was one of the lucky ones. He reached his destination of Hamburg…alive.

Majd’s story is just one of millions of stories about migrants risking their lives over sea and land to have a chance at a better life.

June 20th marks World Refugee Day. The commemoration is an opportunity to pause and consider that, with 50 million displaced people worldwide, today's refugee crisis is the biggest since World War 2.

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Human Trafficking: A Migrant's Story
Kafranbel
By Transterra Editor
30 Apr 2015

Majd Bayoush is a 22-year-old who fled his hometown of Kafranbel in north Syria with the aim of smuggling himself into Europe. After a perilous and complicated journey that lasted for nearly three months, he reached Germany, where he is waiting for the final procedures before he is granted political asylum.

The following is his story as told to Transterra Media.

I arrived to the port city of Izmir, Turkey on September 22, 2014. On the same day, I took an inflatable boat with 47 other migrants and sailed to the Greek island of Samos. We reached our destination after 2.5 hours. The boat deflated and sank after it hit the rocky shore.   

We had agreed with the smuggler Abu Abdu, a Syrian man nicknamed ‘the Tiger’, to surrender to the Greek police once we reach the island. Before leaving Turkey, I deposited 8,000 euros at a money transfer office called ‘al-Saeed’ controlled by the smuggling gang.  [This transfer company has offices in other countries.] Abu Abdu took 2,500 euros out of that sum.

We climbed a mountain on the island of Samos and reached a police station, where policemen confiscated all our possessions, including our mobile phones, and detained us for three days. On Sept. 25, the police authorities placed us below the deck in a cruise boat, which headed to an island near Samos. I do not know its name. There was a camp that held other captured illegal migrants who were Afghans, Asians and Palestinians. However, most of them were Syrians. 

FULL TEXT IS AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST

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Human Trafficking: A Migrant's Story 03
Samos
By Transterra Editor
28 Apr 2015

Majd and other migrants at the ferry boat dock before the voyage to Athens after being released from a detention camp near Samos, Greece.

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Human Trafficking: A Migrant's Story ...
Kafranbel
By Transterra Editor
27 Apr 2015

Majd Bayoush is a 22-year-old who fled his hometown of Kafranbel in north Syria with the aim of smuggling himself into Europe. After a perilous and complicated journey that lasted for nearly three months, he reached Germany, where he is waiting for the final procedures before he is granted political asylum.

SHOTLIST

Shot of migrants on climbing a mountain after reaching the Greek island of Samos

OFF CAMERA
00:09 – 00:16
“This is the boat after UNINTELLIGIBLE."

Shot of the migrants on the boat to Athens

NAT Sound
01:01 – 01:03
“Film where we were staying.”

01:08 – 01:11
“Film the mountain there.” Shot of the migrants walking along railroad tracks from Greece to Macedonia

OFF CAMERA
01:31 – 01:32
“The road to Macedonia.”

Shot of migrant encampment near the Greek-Macedonian border

NAT Sound
01:52- 01:56
“I hope you have not filmed me.”

02:07 – 02:10
“We need light bulb and electricity.”

Shot of a Macedonian soldier overseeing the migrant’s tents on the border after burning them

OFF CAMERA
02:25 – 02:31
“The Macedonian army. The Greek-Macedonian border.” 02:39 - 02:43
“All you do is film.” Shot of burnt tents near the Greek-Macedonian border
Shot of migrants around a fire in Gevgilija, Macedonia

OFF CAMERA
03:16 -03:24
“The Macedonian-Greek border. Syrian and Iraqi refugee.”

Shot of migrants in the outdoors in an unnamed area near the Macedonian-Serbian border
Shot of migrants walking railroad tracks near the Greek-Macedonian border

OFF CAMERA
03:54 – 03:56
“The Macedonian border.”

Shot inside the central prison in Gazi Baba, Skpoje

OFF CAMERA
04:30 – 05:14
“This is the bathroom. This is where we wash. Even animals are washed in a better place. Animals are washed in a place that is better than this. These are the sinks. We are in Skopje.[SHOWING A WATER HEATER] They have cut the wires so that we do not shower with hot water. This is the toilet.”

Shot of migrants arriving to a house owned by a Pakistani smuggler who called himself Ahmad.

OFF CAMERA
05:18
“The Macedonian-Serbian border.” 05:34
“The Macedonian-Serbian border.”

Shot of the courtyard of a house owned by a Pakistani smuggler who called himself Ahmad
Shot of migrants walking at night in the outdoors in Serbia

NAT Sound
05:57
“-Are you filming? -Yes.”

Shot of migrants being transported by tractor in Serbia

Shot of migrants walking at night in the outdoors in Serbia
Exterior shot of the house in which Majd lives in the village of Tönning near Hamburg

06:38
OFF CAMERA
“This is the house to which I was moved in Hamburg. They gave me this house until my residency permit is issued. This is a village called Tunning to the north of Hamburg.”

Traveling shot of a street in Tönning, near Hamburg

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Human Trafficking: A Migrant's Story 22
Lojane
By Transterra Editor
28 Nov 2014

Migrants gathered in the house of a Pakistani smuggler called Ahmad in Lojane, Macedonia.

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Human Trafficking: A Migrant's Story 19
Skopje
By Transterra Editor
27 Nov 2014

The Moroccan smuggler nicknamed The Desert Man (al-Sahrawi) appears on the right, wearing a white sweatshirt, inside a camp for illegal migrants in Skopje, Macedonia. This smuggler had bribed the guards to allow him to move freely in and out of the camp.

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Human Trafficking: A Migrant's Story 06
Gevgelija
By Transterra Editor
08 Nov 2014

Migrants pose for a photo at their makeshift camp inside Macedonian territory near the border with Greece.

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Human Trafficking: A Migrant's Story 15
Macedonia
By Transterra Editor
08 Nov 2014

A tent in the makeshift encampment in Gevgilija, Macedonia where the migrants waited for a smuggler on their second attempt to cross into Serbia

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Human Trafficking: A Migrant's Story 05
Polykastro
By Transterra Editor
07 Nov 2014

Migrants walk along the railroad tracks starting from Polykastro, Greece. This was their second attempt to reach the border with Macedonia.

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Human Trafficking: A Migrant's Story 14
Polykastro
By Transterra Editor
07 Nov 2014

Migrants walk along the railroad tracks starting from Polykastro, Greece. This was their second attempt to reach the border with Macedonia.

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Human Trafficking: A Migrant's Story 12
Gevgelija
By Transterra Editor
27 Oct 2014

Migrants waited in this makeshift encampment in Gevgilija, Macedonia for the smuggler who would escort them to Serbia.

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Human Trafficking: A Migrant's Story 13
Gevgelija
By Transterra Editor
27 Oct 2014

Migrants waited a day at this makeshift encampment in Gevgilija, Macedonia for the smuggler who would take them to Serbia.

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Human Trafficking: A Migrant's Story 11
Gevgelija
By Transterra Editor
26 Oct 2014

Macedonian soldiers burned these tents, in which the migrants stayed on the Macedonian-Greek border.

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Human Trafficking: A Migrant's Story 09
Polykastro
By Transterra Editor
24 Oct 2014

Migrants had to walk along this railroad track for 11 hours as they attempted to reach Macedonia.

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Human Trafficking: A Migrant's Story 10
Polykastro
By Transterra Editor
24 Oct 2014

Migrants faced an 11 hour trek along this railroad track as they attempted to reach Macedonia for the first time.

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Human Trafficking: A Migrant's Story 20
Athens
By Transterra Editor
10 Oct 2014

Majd took this photo of fellow migrants in Athens, Greece.

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Human Trafficking: A Migrant's Story 02
Samos
By Transterra Editor
05 Oct 2014

Majd on a dock near the ferry boat that will transport him with other migrants to Athens after being released from a detention camp near Samos, Greece.

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Human Trafficking: A Migrant's Story 04
Samos
By Transterra Editor
05 Oct 2014

Migrants who traveled with Majd inside the police vehicle that was taking them to a port near Samos, after being released from a detention camp.

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Human Trafficking: A Migrant's Story 21
Samos
By Transterra Editor
05 Oct 2014

The detention camp for illegal migrants on an island near Samos, Greece.

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Human Trafficking: A Migrant's Story 07
Samos
By Transterra Editor
22 Sep 2014

Majd takes a 'selfie' with a friend after reaching the Greek island of Samos from Izmir, Turkey.

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Human Trafficking: A Migrant's Story 08
Samos
By Transterra Editor
22 Sep 2014

Migrants climb a hill on the Greek island of Samos following the voyage from Izmir, Turkey.

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Human Trafficking: A Migrant's Story 16
Samos
By Transterra Editor
22 Sep 2014

Majd and two other migrants on an inflatable boat sailing from Izmir, Turkey to Samos, Greece.

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Human Trafficking: A Migrant's Story 17
Samos
By Transterra Editor
22 Sep 2014

Migrants pose for a photo on an inflatable boat sailing from Izmir, Turkey to Samos, Greece.

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Human Trafficking: A Migrant's Story 18
Izmir
By Transterra Editor
18 Sep 2014

The receipts Majd received after depositing 8,000 euros at the money transfer office run by the smugglers in Izmir, Turkey on September 18, 2014.